Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia With Hate

Science teacher Richard (Roy Haylock) is happily working in his Texas high school as drag queen alter ego Bianca del Rio. But his old enemy, local homophobe Debora Ward (Rachel Dratch), is out of prison, and plans her revenge on Bianca. To do this she lures Richard to the notoriously anti-gay Russia so she can out him to the authorities, in this sequel to Hurricane Andrew.

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Once again Haylock proves a charismatic lead as both Rich and Bianca. The film deserves credit for promoting drag talent, which is more than can be said of the guest judges on Rupaul’s Drag Race. Starring opposite Haylock is Season 7 favourite Brian McCook, as Russian scientist Mitya and alter-ego Katya Zamolochikova.

He gives a predictably strong performance, exhibiting both the personas for which he is known: hot nerd and Russian hooker. Although it’s a shame he doesn’t get to speak the impeccable Russian which he learnt specifically for his drag character. There’s also the welcome return of drag legends Alyssa Edwards and Shangela rounding off a strong cast.

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But at the same time the biggest misjudgement is giving Bianca a young, drug addicted and wildly promiscuous comedy sidekick, Rex (Doug Plaut), a misfit misfire that’s not entirely comfortable to watch.

The film is bold to apply the themes of Hurricane Bianca, set in Texas, to the even more challenging climate of Russia. Although it does make you wonder where Hurricane Bianca 3 will be set. Saudi Arabia? Jan Moir’s house? A cake shop?

While definitely an improvement on its predecessor, this sequel still struggles to make Bianca’s humour, honed for drunk crowds and late-night bars, work in a scripted way. As a result it’s fairly hit and miss, even if it does hit a lot more than first time round.

For fans of Bianca, Rupaul’s Drag Race and men dressed as Russian hookers it’s a sufficiently entertaining flick through Bianca’s famous Rolodex of hate. But for the uninitiated, its extended “Rupaul’s Drag Race acting challenge” style may make it difficult to enjoy, even for the most ardent critic of Russian domestic policy.

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